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The short answer is yes. Changes in seasons can cause people, both young and old, to have sleep disorders. There are various ways that change in season affects people, such as having shorter days because darkness comes early. Temperatures also become much cooler, making people want to stay in bed more.
Sleep is typically controlled by the circadian process, which depends on internal time-keeping cells.
These cells use time clues to synchronize with the environment and include ambient temperature and light. This is why people stay awake when it is day and sleep when it is night.
When it is winter or fall many realize the sudden change in their sleep patterns because of the change in temperatures. Having less daylight is also a contributor to inconsistent sleep patterns. One, therefore, needs to be prepared for these occurrences by learning how to invoke better sleep patterns.
Here are several ways sleep is affected by season changes.
Daytime and Nighttime Lengths
During the winter, days are short and the nights are longer and in summer it is the inverse. When the body gets melatonin from the sun, it makes one feel more energetic and in better moods because the internal clock is better regulated. Since there’s less sun in winter, it becomes a challenge to get enough melatonin; therefore, the body doesn’t understand when it is night or day.
It is advised that one gets as much sunlight as possible during the cold winter months. Lack of enough melatonin can make you feel tired earlier or later than usual. Other alternatives of Vitamin D include using UV lights and taking vitamin supplements.
Lack of sleep can also be caused by spending a lot of time on screens and phones when it’s almost bedtime. They need to be avoided because they trick the body into thinking it’s daytime.
Seasonal temperature changes are also a great contributor to how people sleep. The body struggles to be calm, feel safe, and be ready for sleep when the temperatures are too cold or too hot. One needs to be in a dark and cool environment to sleep better. Ensure that the room has correct temperatures and that the beddings are warm.
During hot months, one must ensure to have a mattress that doesn’t insulate and also have cooling sheets. Nolah Mattress has some of the best options for sleeping in hot and cold weather. It also helps to have enough pajamas and warm blankets to sleep better.
It is said that people can have difficulty waking up in the morning when they get too comfortable. It can be a challenge because you’re cozy and warm in bed while it’s cold outside. Therefore having a dawn simulator can help since one can regulate the amount of light.
Due to the lack of melatonin, sun, and vitamin D during cold months, one’s moods can be affected, leading to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is often noticed in late autumn and winter and can also cause one to have a sleeping disorder.
Knowing that major symptoms of SAD are fatigue and sleepiness, they can make it difficult for one to have the energy to get out of bed. Light therapy can help; however, it is not as good as getting direct sunlight.
As one takes in more sun, the mood effectively changes, which is why people feel more energetic in spring. The energy may also make one wake up earlier than usual therefore one must stick to a regular pattern of sleep all year round.
Sleep directly affects the immune system and it becomes more vulnerable during the cold and flu season. A person who regularly sleeps for less than the recommended hours is more vulnerable to getting sick.
The immune system is weakened when one doesn’t sleep well, especially during the winter months. One is required to have at least 7 hours of sleep to promote better health. It has proven to positively affect the immune system as it releases cytokines that fight diseases.
Lack of good sleep decreases the production of the protective cytokines which fight any infections in the body. One must also remember to eat healthy food and exercise regularly to strengthen the immune system.
Sleep Well Throughout the Year
As seasons come and go, one must make sure he’s well prepared to stay energized and motivated. Sleep is a major factor in ensuring that one is productive throughout the year and, it helps to protect the immune system. Having enough sunlight will increase the Vitamin D and melatonin in the body to promote better sleep in all seasons.